What is the attraction to serve a “ba’al” over Yahweh? Service to the ba’als was degrading and impersonal, yet, it practically attracted Israel over and over again in history.
And we are often attracted as well. The fact that “ba’al” worship is impersonal is the feature that can make it most attractive to us. Personal relationships require the conditioning of humility, the willingness to listen, the courage of communication, compromise and cooperation. They require bravery when situations involve a measure of greyness or uncertainty. We can never be absolutely assured of how things will go. We may face betrayal and deep pain. Personal relationship is risky. It is this risk of our heart that causes us frequently to run away.
The ba’als offered to Israel an opportunity to have the benefits that Yahweh promised, without personal relationship. There would be no need to examine motives and test the quality of love. Simply insert your quarters in the slot and enjoy the outcoming shiny pink gumball. The Hebrews could solicit what they needed from a ba’al without risking any personal investment in the other party. The mechanical requirement? Base, naturalistic urges and acts. One could always think about self. No personal risk involved that invested integrally in the other relator.
Remember Jesus in Luke 4, verses 1-13? The Adversary offered Jesus Christ wealth, power and authority if He would just. ….bow to him. I give you what you want if you give me what I want.
No restrictions. No need to be concerned about another’s welfare. No risk involved. The Hebrew did not develop a relationship with his or her ba’al. No worries about betrayal, loss or pain. Naturally, there had to be a cost to such a simple means of gain. After all, as they say, if something is too good to be true, it probably is. And so it was for Israel…. .they could also expect no quality friendship and mutual respect, deep affections and romance….
They would not be treated humane…